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Home Built Model Yacht Racers Prove Competitive

8th January 2016
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A friendly outing in Gortin lake at the end of the year

With the recent series of storms model yacht racers had to cancel a number of events but a few managed to get on the water. We had a friendly outing in Gortin lake in November and another one on Lough Erne last weekend writes Gilbert Louis.

One of the main comments about these 2 outings is that most of the boats that you see in the pictures and videos are home built. Most of these wooden boats were built by Neill Suitor a sailing enthusiast from Northern Ireland who clearly has ‘golden fingers’ to build these beauties. Having said this, others also built their own boat. Trevor Fisher and Bob Wells also from Northern Ireland built a Goth XP design in wood. Des Dwyer and Sephen Fay from Dublin built an Alternative design… (Alternative is the actual name of the boat design. This boat was designed by Brad Gibson).

The IOM class is not a one design but a box rules where the rigging is pretty much one-design but the class rules allow for creativity and designs opportunity with the hull. This ensure evolution of the class while keeping the cost down and all boats racing competitively together. 

This allows home designs and home built boat to be as competitive as series built fiberglass boats and this is a really good thing.

Brad for example who’s multiple world and European champion designs and builds his own boats and his sails. One of the successful German skipper also designed and built his own boat, sails and even his rigs with wooden rigging with pre-bend in them. While this amateur building is still a minority amongst IOM skippers it shows that whether you buy a ‘production’ boat or build it yourself you can be competitive in the class.

I race with a wooden boat designed by Frank Russell, a well-known model boat designer from Australia (http://www.frankrusselldesign.com/) which was built by Neill Suitor. I finished 5th in national regatta in France in Autumn last year with it. I was the only competitor there racing a wooden boat but I was racing against all the latest designs (Britpop, V8, V9, Fraktal, MX, cheinz, etc…).

The Irish fleet is currently enjoying growth in the Cork region and in Northern Ireland at the moment which is encouraging.

In Dublin, Howth YC which is a great base for the Dublin fleet is hosting the regular Winter and Spring series with events every 2 weeks.

Looking forward to see you on the water! Or rather ashore with us to control your boat ;-)

Gilbert Louis

Published in Model Boats
Afloat.ie Team

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